Help strengthen the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill #MakeAccessibilityRealNZ

Help strengthen the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill #MakeAccessibilityRealNZ

16 August 2022
Signatures: 15,191Next goal: 25,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Juliana Carvalho

Access for All: Access Matters Aotearoa Petition - Strengthen the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill that is presently before Parliament

Let’s avoid another committee and instead get the action that New Zealanders need and want now. 

Please help us strengthen the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill to include standards, a regulator, a barrier notification system and a dispute resolution process to remove access barriers.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, we like to think we live in a classless and fair society. However, the reality is vastly different for many of us. Our society was designed and built with just a portion of our population in mind. This makes it easy for some, difficult for many and excludes some of us completely.

At least a quarter (24%) of New Zealand citizens identify as having some form of disability or accessibility need. People aged 65 or over are much more likely to be disabled or have accessibility needs (59%) than adults under 65 years (21%) or children under 15 years (11%). With population growth and people living longer, many of these figures are increasing. 

Neurodiversity (neurological differences in the human brain) like dyslexia and autism impact upwards of 20% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s population and accessibility is a big issue that stands in the way of achievement for many Kiwis.

Access barriers prevent many people from participating fully and equally in society. This exclusion also has a negative impact on whānau, friends and the wider community. Accessibility means people can live independently and participate fully in all areas of life, with dignity.

After many years of campaigning, the Government finally introduced the ‘Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill’. The First Reading debate on the Bill was on 2 August 2022. Unfortunately, the Bill seeks to accelerate accessibility by establishing an ‘Accessibility Committee’ with limited powers, without enforceable accessibility standards. This simply is not enough to achieve access for all. We deserve better! 

We're asking the Government for an Accessibility Legislative Framework that includes standards, a regulator, a barrier notification system and a dispute resolution process to remove access barriers.

The Government’s ‘Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill’ will not deliver the change needed to remove access barriers and create the inclusive society we all need.

It is exhausting having to constantly find workarounds, just to get through the day, in an inaccessible society. This unnecessary burden can no longer be shouldered by the 24% of Kiwis who have access needs. Neither should it. Everyone will have an access need at some point in their life. We want the remaining 76% of the population - those who are yet to have access need - to understand this and join us. And we want everyone to take action because #WeDeserveBetter and we need to #MakeAccessibilityRealNZ

Let’s create a truly accessible Aotearoa New Zealand in which we can all participate. 

Please sign and share our petition! #MakeAccessibilityRealNZ

P.S. 1: Public submissions are now being called for the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill. The closing date for submissions is Monday 07 November 2022. We will soon be launching a guide to simplify and empower you to make a submission. Watch this space!

P.S. 2: We want to collect 1.1 million signatures - the equivalent number of disabled people in Aotearoa New Zealand. Sign and share, share, share!!!

P.S. 3: This petition is a political tool to pressure the Government to broaden the scope of what can be changed in the bill through the Select Committee process. 

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION]: Photo collage of news headlines. Stuff, Government won't enforce accessibility, despite promising legislation to make NZ more accessible. NZ Herald, Lack of accessible housing forces woman to shower on porch, calls for Universal Design Standards. NZ Herald, Disabled community ask for safer detours when Auckland's footpaths are blocked. Stuff, Accessibility bill passes first reading in House but disability advocates keen to toss it ad start again. Stuff, Access Denied: New campaign to reveal the barriers disabled people face every day. Stuff, Not built for me: Lack of accessible homes leaves disabled people 'without dignity'.

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Signatures: 15,191Next goal: 25,000
Support now